Melon insect pests are considered the most complex agriculture problem in Baghlan which neither the government nor farmers are able to cure. Farmers say that they lose half of their products because of this insect, and they have not yet found a way to fight the disease.
“We cannot afford to grow wheat in our fields. We get the best output from growing melons, if this disease is cured. And, growing melon is a longstanding tradition of our people in Kylagai district,” Sayed Rahman, a farmer from Baghlan, said.
Sayed Rahman added that every yard of field generates 60-70 thousand afs of melons; however, now due to the melon insect pests most of their crops go to waste.
The farmers approach the government and say that if the government does not take measures to root out this phenomenon, which has been around since less than 10 years, the farmers cannot in any means resolve this issue.
“We tried hard and made many efforts to eradicate this disease but with only 60-70% success. This is not sufficient, though, and it must be totally eliminated,” said Director of Baghlan’s Department of Agriculture Plant Protection Mohammad Asghar Sofi Zada.
According to the farmers, this terminal plant disease appeared suddenly in Afghanistan 10 years ago. It was first seen in Kunduz, and then spread to other provinces where melons are grown.
A 50 year old farmer from Baagh-e-Shamal of Baghlan province said, “Since Afghanistan has many enemies, the disease is probably brought in by the enemies and the medicine for the cure of the disease are probably counterfeit.”